Monthly Archives: January 2017

January 2017 News Round-Up

Update on the Ending of ACT’s Contract with MCFD

ACT’s staff and board thank all those who continue sending kind comments via Facebook, email and by telephone. It has been an honour for us to provide navigation and information services to families and professionals across B.C. since 2005. When we have information to share with the autism community from B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development on their new vision of service provision, we will post it on our website and Facebook page.

In the meantime, ACT is continuing to provide our always friendly and efficient service as we work to re-design our programs – details below.

ACT’s Live Event Calendar for 2017 – Registration Now Open!

ACT is finalizing the details of our 2017 event calendar. At ACT’s live events, leading practitioners and researchers from across the world share their insights with B.C. parents and professionals. Join us for inspiration and information! See below for the events which have already been confirmed. Special thanks to our sponsors and speakers who make ACT’s training possible.

ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Event – April 28 & 29, 2017

SFU Harbour Centre – Vancouver.
Mental Health is the focus of this year’s Focus on Research conference. We are delighted to announce our two keynote speakers, Dr. Christopher Gillberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Jonathan Weiss (York University, Toronto). ACT’s Online Mental Health and Autism Project committee will finalize the program over the next two weeks – save the dates for what will be a thought provoking two days!

Applications of CBT to Address Emotional Functioning in Youth with ASD – July 24 & 25- Vancouver

Jonathan Weiss, PhD, CPsych, Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research, York University
Details & registration coming soon.

The events below are open for registration – register early and save!

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications – POPARD
July 31 – Aug. 4 – Surrey
Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych

Executive Functioning Conference
Aug. 10 & 11 – Sidney
Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP (Boston)

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications – POPARD
Aug. 14 – 18 -Vancouver
Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych

Integrating ABA Methods in Schools: Supporting School Aged Children
Aug. 24 & 25 – Vancouver
Richard Stock, PhD, BCBA-D

Picturing Success: Visual Support Strategies for Individuals with ASD
Oct. 20 & 21, 2017 – Vancouver
Brenda Fossett, PhD, BCBA-D

Two Social Thinking® Days for Young Children
Nov. 16 & 17- Vancouver
Kari Zweber Palmer, MA, CCC-SLP & Ryan Hendrix, MS, CCC-SLP

Autism Videos @ ACT

ACT has added five new videos to AVA since the beginning of December 2016. This week we launch a new platform to make this free resource easier to navigate as we now have over 20 videos and we want to make sure our users don’t get lost! Take a look at our new Videos home page which allows you to easily scan all our video offerings and view them when convenient to you, with no passwords. This is a free service made possible thanks to donors, sponsors and of course our presenters, who donate their time to this rich source of evidence-based community training, available internationally to all who need access to positive information on autism and other special needs.

NEW AVA Video for 2017 – The Essentials of Advocacy

The Essentials of Advocacy: A Parent’s Guide to Advocating for their Child with Special Needs

This free online ACT video provides practical, positive guidance on how to navigate various government systems that control access to services for children with special needs.

ACT has several videos awaiting editing. If you would like to support AVA’s development, donate via cheque, online via Canada Helps, the United Way, or Employer Charitable funds. www.actcommunity.ca/donate

Autism Information Database

ACT is considering how we can fund the Autism Information Database as MCFD has indicated that they will not maintain this resource. The AID now has over 2,000 information and community resources carefully sourced from across B.C. and internationally. It is the only key-word searchable, non-commercial, multi-language resource of its kind internationally and we would like to continue it as an important resource for the autism community, nationally and internationally. Email dpugh@actcommunity.ca with any suggestions for sources of corporate/foundation funding.

Donating to ACT Thank you to our donors!

As a federally registered not-for-profit society, ACT can provide tax receipts for donations over $10. ACT’s Charitable Tax Number is #861691236RR0001.

How to Donate:

  • By cheque (send to office, made out to ACT – Autism Community Training)
  • Online via CanadaHelps or Chimp.net
  • Via the United Way (search for ACT- Autism Community Training Society, Burnaby)

Thank you to our donors and sponsors in 2016:

Individual donors and sponsors are listed on our donations page; thank you for contributing to world-class live and online training.

RASP Alert!

ACT is preparing to hand over the management of the Registry of Autism Service Providers to the Ministry of Children and Family Development as of June 30. In order to minimise delays for those planning to apply to the RASP, and to provide an efficient transition, ACT advises that all applications be submitted before May 1. Those applicants who fulfill the experience and coursework requirements, and have full documentation to support their applications, including references, will be processed by May 30th. ACT will not be accepting new RASP applications after May 15th.

MCFD will begin accepting new applications as of July 1st. Please note that the RASP application process will remain the same after July 1st as it a MCFD-regulated process which ACT has managed on MCFD’s behalf since 2005. For more information on the RASP application process see: www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/sp-info/

RASP Updates for January 2017

Twelve RASP professionals have been added or had their status updated since December 31stth. As of January 26th, 2017, there are 669 professionals on the Registry for Autism Service Providers: www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/.

Behavior Consultants (Non-Supervised)

  • Bella Siu Man – Burnaby, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver, West Vancouver
  • Larissa Davies – Bowen Island, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Salt Spring Island, Squamish, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, West Vancouver
  • Jemana Elsharkawi – Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Port McNeil

Behavior Consultants (Supervised)

  • Brittney Mailloux – Kitimat

Speech-Language Pathologists (Non-Supervised)

  • Shadi Asadi – Cawston, Keremos, Oliver, Osoyoos
  • Clare Wolff – Prince George

Speech-Language Pathologists (Supervised)

  • Tara Casorso – Colwood, Langford, Sidney, Sooke, Victoria
  • Brianna Rosenberg – Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver

Occupational Therapists

  • Reetpal Brar – Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Vancouver
  • Darlene Clarke – Hazelton, Smithers
  • Emily Lee – Vancouver
  • Adelle Rama – Langford, Saanich, Sidney

RASP service providers leave the RASP for many reasons including retirement or moving out of province. No service providers were removed in January 2017.

RASP providers are urged to keep their contact information up to date either online or by contacting the ACT office. The RASP Service Providers page has information for new applicants; the criminal record check process and renewal and professional development.

ACT updates the RASP list weekly. See who is new in your community at www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/.

Autism on the Hill Seeking Photos for Ottawa event

Each year, Autism on the Hill holds a rally at the Parliament buildings in honour of World Autism Day. They are asking family members, caregivers, and people with autism to send in pictures to go on their banner to raise awareness of the diversity of Canada’s national autism community. Submit your photo.

Highlights from ACT’s Special Needs Community Events Listing

Sports and Recreation Programs for Children and Youth with Autism

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides highly supported sports and recreation programs for children, teens, and young adults living with autism in Kelowna, Kamloops, the Valley, the Lower Mainland, Victoria, Duncan, and Nanaimo. Online registration for CAN’s spring session of multi-week programs will take place from Monday, February 20th at noon, to Friday, February 24th at noon. Not yet a CAN member? Join today for only $25/year at www.canucksautism.ca/join.

ACT’s South Asian Autism Project’s Monthly Support Group

In collaboration with Surrey Schools and SFU, ACT hosts a monthly support group for South Asian Families raising a child with autism. Come to a meeting and raise your questions; topics are decided on at the meeting, and conversations are held in English and Punjabi.

Next Meeting: February 23, 2017 at École Henry Bose Elementary School, 6550 134 Street, Surrey. For more information, see the ASAAP Support Meeting flyer. Please see the Act in Punjabi page for more on the work of ACT’s South Asian Autism Awareness Project (ASAAP) Committee.

Upcoming Special Needs Community Events

See what is happening across B.C. or post your community/training event for the special needs community at www.actcommunity.ca/special-needs-community-events/. Here are some upcoming events in February:

View all events on our Special Needs Community Events page

Participate in Research & Build Knowledge!

Are you interested in participating in autism research? Some of the latest projects underway in Canada and internationally are posted on ACT’s website: www.actcommunity.ca/information/research/participate-research/.

Are you a researcher interested in reaching the 8,200 plus subscribers to ACT’s resources? Post your research project on the ACT page.

Simon Fraser University Parent-Child Study

The Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab invites parents and children age 7-12 with or without ASD to participate in research about how children develop social skills for communication and interaction. Parents and children will work together on fun and interactive activities. Parents receive $30 and parking remuneration in thanks for participating in the 3 hour study. Please contact addl@sfu.ca for more information.

Autism in the News

For more news and stories, follow ACT on Facebook

New Video: Essentials of Advocacy: A Parent’s Guide to Advocating for their Child with Special Needs

Presented by Deborah Pugh, Executive Director, ACT – Autism Community Training

Many parents find the most stressful part of parenting a child with special needs is the constant need to advocate for their child’s unique needs to be met. This free online ACT video provides practical, positive guidance on how to navigate various government systems and provides insights to understanding the systems that control access to services for children with special needs. Many of the examples are from British Columbia’s education system, but the basic principles of effective advocacy apply to most jurisdictions and are helpful to families who want to understand how to protect their child’s rights by better understanding the roles and responsibilities of both service providers and the family. The video has been edited down into short chunks to help busy families. No password is required.

Deborah Pugh has been an active advocate on behalf of children and adults with special needs for over 20 years, following a journalism career in which she first learned the importance of advocating for others. For details of Deborah’s experience see the ACT Staff page.

Please click on link below to access Part 2 of the ‘Essentials of Advocacy’. You may also access the handout for the workshop here as well as the full Table of Contents for the workshop here: www.actcommunity.ca/education/the-essentials-of-advocacy/

Call for Presenters: ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference

Autism & Mental Health – Looking Beyond Autism

Application Deadline Jan 31, 2017

ACT – Autism Community Training will be hosting its 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference, April 28 & 29, 2017, at the Downtown Campus of Simon Fraser University, at Harbour Centre, Vancouver.

The topic for this year’s conference is Autism & Mental Health – Looking Beyond Autism.  Application deadline: January 31, 2017

We wish to elicit contributions from researchers, clinicians and policy makers from across Canada, and internationally, with experience in the complex area of identifying and treating children and adults with ASD who also face mental health challenges.

ACT’s intention, as part of our Online Mental Health & Autism Project (OMHAP), is to record many of the conference contributions to enrich the resources we are developing for OMHAP,which will be available free as a national and international resource.

The Application to Present can be viewed here. To apply, fill out the form in your browser or Adobe Acrobat, save it, and send to slai@actcommunity.ca along with the required attachments.

OMHAP is still in development. The first two webinars, the first phase of the project, are available free of charge on the ACT website: www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/

Please note that as ACT is a not-for-profit society, we do not have the resources to pay presenters to contribute but conference registration will be free for all presenters.

ACT thanks the members of the OMHAP Advisory Committee for all their work in guiding this project. For details of the membership of OMHAP, see www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/committee/

Please contact Selina Lai, ACT’s Event Planner at slai@actcommunity.ca, if you have any questions about this conference.

2016 News Round-up – Looking Forward to 2017

Donate to Secure the Future of ACT’s Free Online Training in 2017

ACT has been receiving many questions about our future, now that we will no longer be funded to provide individualized parent support and manage the Registry of Autism Service Providers. We will keep you informed when the Ministry of Children and Family Development has details to share with the autism community about the delivery of these services post June 30, 2017. In the meantime, please be assured that ACT will continue to provide our excellent live events in 2017 and that we are working hard to find alternative sources of funding and sponsorship so that our website will remain a rich source of evidence-based information and training for parents and community professionals across Canada.

Much of ACT’s training has been independent of government funding, supported by registration fees and sponsorship, benefiting from the skills of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors. However, there are challenges ahead. The most challenging resource to maintain is Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA), our very special free online resource for families and professionals, especially as, starting July 2017, ACT will no longer benefit from sharing overhead costs with other services provided under contract to MCFD.

As this change in government policy was unexpected, we are urgently seeking funding to maintain the 20 presentations available for free on AVA, as well as preparing and uploading presentations recorded in 2016. AVA is a unique resource internationally because of the breadth of the content and the quality of production values. Nothing quite like AVA, with its focus on providing families and community professionals with positive, practical, comprehensive and evidence-based information on many facets of living and working with children and adults with ASD, exists elsewhere.

In 2017, as ACT goes through this challenging transition, we are asking B.C.’s autism community to contribute to the development and distribution of world-class training for community professionals and families across the province.

How to Donate

  • Online via CanadaHelps or Chimp.net
  • By cheque (send to office, made out to ACT – Autism Community Training)
  • Via the United Way (search for ACT- Autism Community Training Society, Burnaby)

Visit our Donations Page for information and ways to donate.

As a federally registered not-for-profit society, ACT can provide tax receipts for donations over $10. ACT’s Charitable Tax Number is #861691236RR0001.

Thank you to our donors and sponsors in 2016:

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored or donated to the Seymour Triple G fundraiser. We have listed these donors on the Seymour Triple G website; click on ‘Individual Donors’ to see the complete list of donors.

Individual donors and sponsors are listed on our donations page: thank you for contributing to world-class live and online training.

ACT’s Accomplishments in 2016

ACT is refocusing in 2017 on building our information and training resources as a national resource for families and individuals with autism and special needs. In the meantime, we would like to share with you ACT’s accomplishments over 2016, achieved with the support of a large circle of professional and parental volunteers, donors and sponsors, who have enabled ACT to provide a cost-effective, comprehensive service admired across Canada.

Parent Information and Support in 2016

  • Over 1000 families, professionals and self-advocates contacted ACT one or more times for information and support from across B.C. by telephone and email at our office in 2016 – a 7.5% increase over 2015; questions posed by parents are often complex and wide-ranging: from school exclusion, diagnosis across the lifespan, finding a mental health provider to the criminal justice system. (ACT staff answered an additional 400 questions at over 20 community events).
  • 12% of information calls related to adult issues. While ACT has not been funded to provide adult services, we have done our best to answer questions both from families and from adults with ASD.
  • Most calls related to some aspect of the autism funding process, ranging from requests for help in accessing MCFD forms, to support in understanding eligible expenses.
  • On average, an ACT Information Officer spent 43 minutes helping each family on a “case” inquiry; 3% of cases take over two hours, sometimes involving a number of calls and emails over months.

Download the Report on ACT's Parent Support and Information Services

 
 
 
 

Who Contacted ACT in 2016?

The RASP in 2016:

  • ACT added 99 new professionals to the RASP in 2016 – a net increase of 47 as others moved or retired. As of December 31st, there were 658 professionals on the RASP, eligible to serve children under 6 using the Autism Funding Program.
  • There was a 9% increase in RASP searches on ACT’s website in 2016 over the previous year; nearly 14% of searches on the ACT website begin at the RASP Search page. The RASP search tool allows families to search by postal code, language spoken by the professional, availability and whether the professional is prepared to travel.
  • ACT worked closely with the College of Psychologists of B.C. in 2016 to support Behavior Analysts joining the CPBC (69% of RASP Behavior Consultants on the RASP are Behavior Analysts). MCFD and ACT support this initiative because professional colleges provide protection to families. Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists must all be members of their professional colleges to practice in B.C. and be included on the RASP. It is hoped that the Ministry of Health will implement the necessary legislative changes in 2017.
  • Also in 2016, ACT worked closely with the College of Occupational Therapists and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and the RASP Advisory Panel to develop a supervised category for Occupational Therapist on the RASP. This already exists for Speech Language Pathologists. MCFD, with ACT’s support, will implement the process.

ACT’s Online Information & Training Initiatives

  • The Online Mental Health and Autism Project (OMHAP) provided two free webcasts each of which reached over 200 professionals across B.C. According to our project collaborators at UBC’s Department of Continuing Professional Development (Faculty of Medicine), this was the highest response to any webinar they have ever done! We believe this reflects the hunger of community professionals to have more information to help their clients with ASD.

The two webinars are now available here, free, thanks to our sponsors, donors and presenters: www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/

ACT Live Training 2003-2016

While ACT cut back on the number of live events we did in 2016 (in order to finish special projects and prepare the proposals in response to MCFD’s Request), we provided eight excellent training events which attracted 1,360 participants from across B.C. and beyond, providing 13,000 hours of training. ACT provided $27,000 in bursaries in 2016, in the form of reduced registration fees, to increase accessibility for parents and professionals living outside of Metro Vancouver and/or living on reduced incomes. Our thanks to Odin Books for continuing to support our bursary fund.

ACT Community Training Report

Special Needs Community Events

In 2016 ACT improved our ability to promote community events being held by other groups supporting the special needs community, with a new calendar that provides easier posting and browsing. See www.actcommunity.ca/special-needs-community-events/ to post your event.

 

Upcoming Live Events

Jan. 14, 2017 – Evaluating Intervention Programs and Peer Mediated Pivotal Response Treatment
Presented by Isabel Smith, PhD and Ainsley Boudreau, PhD
Early Bird Deadline – January 4th, 2017.
Details

Save the Date – details coming soon

ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research – Focus on Mental Health in Autism
Multiple Speakers
April 28 & 29, 2017 – Vancouver

Executive Functioning Conference
Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP
August 10 & 11, 2017 – Sidney

Integrating ABA Methods in Schools: Supporting School Aged Children
Richard Stock, PhD, BCBA-D
August 24 & 25, 2017 – Vancouver

Picturing Success: Visual Support Strategies for Individuals with ASD
Brenda Fossett, PhD, BCBA-D
October 20 & 21, 2017 – Vancouver

 

RASP Updates

Six RASP professionals have been added or had their status updated since November 30th. As of December 31, 2016, there are 658 professionals on the Registry for Autism Service Providers: www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/.

Behavior Consultants (Category A – Non-Supervised)

Karina Frisque – Kelowna, West Kelowna

Maria Turner – Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Moody, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Vancouver

Behavior Consultants (Category B – Supervised)

Sarira Ronaghi – Burnaby, North Vancouver, Vancouver, West Vancouver

Speech-Language Pathologists (Non-Supervised)

Sarah Lau – Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver

James Donovan – Victoria

Occupational Therapists

Noelle Alava – Abbotsford, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Delta, Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver

Professionals no longer listed on the RASP

RASP service providers may leave the RASP due to retirement or moving to a different job or province. Between November 30th and December 31, 2016, Heather Dorn, Susan Edwards, Christine Gleave, Megan Kern, Julie Leswal, Erika Manarin, Janet Ross, Yvette Thomson and Nagwa Yacoub were removed from the RASP.

RASP providers are urged to keep their contact information up to date either online or by contacting the ACT office. If you are a parent who is not receiving a response from a RASP Professional, please update ACT.

ACT updates the RASP list weekly. See who is new in your community at www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/.

More Information on the RASP for Families: www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/information-for-families/

 

Post Your Special Needs Community Event

See what is happening across B.C. and post your community/training event for the special needs community at www.actcommunity.ca/special-needs-community-events/. Here are some interesting upcoming events:

PEERS: Social Skills Group for Teens with ASD – Vancouver

Early Start Denver Model Advanced Workshop – Duncan

 

Room in your Heart & Home to be a Foster Parent?

MCFD’s Vancouver/Richmond Recruitment team is looking for new foster parents to provide occasional respite care for children and youth with special needs. They offer competitive rates for caregivers with skills and experience, as well as one to one support and coaching. Successful applicants go through a home study process which includes family interviews, references, medical and criminal checks.

Interested applicants can find out more information at www.Fosteringconnections.ca. To register for an information session call 604 -775-2169.

 

National Autism Initiatives

The Canadian Autism Leadership Summit will be held in Ottawa on April 4 and 5th, 2017.

For more information or to register see www.casda.ca/#leadershipsummit

The Canadian Autism Partnership Project is actively promoting a new national vision for autism. For more information see: www.capproject.ca/

Participate in International Research & Build Knowledge!

Are you interested in participating in autism research? Some of the latest projects underway in Canada and internationally are posted on ACT’s website: www.actcommunity.ca/information/research/participate-research/.

Are you a researcher interested in attracting the 8,000 plus subscribers to ACT’s resources? Post your project here

How Do People with ASD Understand Language?

Research is currently underway at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCHRI) to understand how individuals with ASD process language. The study, led by Dr. Anthony Bailey and Dr. Keith McLarren, is conducted with the support of UBC. The study uses MRI and EEG scans to take pictures of your brain activity as you read sentences. If you are 14 to 40 years old, live in B.C. and have an ASD diagnosis, you are invited to participate in our study. We are especially interested in people who were late talkers. You must speak English as your first language and be able to read at a grade 5 level or above to be eligible for the study. Those who have epilepsy should not volunteer for this study.

For more information and to sign up, please contact Dr. Keith McLarren at keith.mclarren@ubc.ca or 604-822-4100.

For more details see: Brochure or Study Information

Invitation to Professionals to Participate in Research

Researchers at Dalhousie and McGill Universities are seeking service providers to participate in a project about current practices in the field of neurodisability and emotional dysregulation. Service providers who are knowledgeable about children with neurodisabilities and the emotional and behavioural challenges they face are invited to participate in a telephone or Skype interview. You will be asked about services offered at your site, key approaches you recommend to children and families, how referrals are made and to whom. You will also be asked to comment on a parent coaching intervention being developed specifically for this population. For more information email sacha.bailey@mail.mcgill.ca

Autism in the News: Adults and Employment

Several of the news stories below address employment issues. For ACT’s resources on the topic of adult transition and employment, browse: www.actcommunity.ca/information/transition-adult/

Find the Resources You Need:

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